Holiday Disappointment Damages

We are, sadly, often disappointed in our holidays. That disappointment is sometimes so bad that is we have to sue to recover damages. How should such damages be calculated. Consumers will find their damages restricted in future by a recent decision of the Court of Appeal which looked at the question specifically.
Milner and Another v Carnival Plc (T/A Cunard) – CA – 20-Apr-10 – Ward LJ, Richards LJ, Goldring LJ – ConsumerDamages

The claimants had gone on a cruise organised by the defendants. It was described by them as ‘the trip of a lifetime.’ It did not meet the customers’ expectations. There had been several complaints, including that the cabin was noisy as the floor flexed with the ship. The company now appealed against an award of £22,500 in damages.

Held: The court set out principles for the award of damages in this area, taking into acount comparable cases and guidelines from the Judicial Studies Board, and cases on affront from discrimination law. The court should make the assessment under two heads, first the diminution in value and then the distress and disappointment, but avoiding any duplication of damages. When looking at the diminution, the actual sum paid mattered not the advertised cost. It was part of the task to measure the expectations against the reality. It had been wrong to award the cost of the extra dresses purchased for the trip. They were not worn because the claimants left the tour.

The general damages for inconvenience were reduced to £4,000 and £4,500 and £3,500 for the diminution, totalling £12,000.

Cases Cited: Hobbs v London and South Western Railway Company ((1875) LR 10 QB 111); Stedman -v- Swan’s Tours CA ((1951) 95 SJ 727 CA); Farley -v- Skinner HL ([2001] UKHL 49, [2002] 2 AC 732, [2001] 3 WLR 899, [2001] All ER 801); South Australia Asset Management Corporation -v- York Montague Ltd; Banque Bruxelles Lambert SA -v- Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd etc HL ([1997] AC 191, [1996] PNLR 455, [1996] 27 EG 125, [1996] 3 WLR 87, [1996] UKHL 10, [1996] 3 All ER 365, [1996] 2 EGLR 93, 80 BLR 1, [1996] 5 Bank LR 211, [1996] CLC 1179, [1996] 50 Con LR 153); Parry -v- Cleaver HL ([1970] AC 1, [1969] 2 WLR 821, [1969] 1 All ER 555, [1969] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 183, [1969] UKHL 2); Kepple-Palmer v Exus Travel QBD ([2003] EWHC 3529 (QB)); Wright -v- British Railways Board HL ([1983] 2 AC 773); Jarvis -v- Swans Tours Ltd CA ([1973] 1 All ER 71, [1972] 3 WLR 954, [1973] QB 233, [1972] EWCA Civ 8); Adcock v Blue Sky Holidays Ltd CA (Unreported, 13/05/1980); Jackson -v- Horizon Holidays Ltd CA ([1975] 1 WLR 1468, [1974] EWCA Civ 12); Vento -v- The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police (No 2) CA ([2003] ICR 318, [2002] EWCA Civ 1871, [2003] IRLR 102); Watts & Co -v- Morrow CA ([1991] 4 All ER 939, [1991] 1 WLR 1421, [1991] EWCA Civ 9);
[2010] EWCA Civ 389 20-Apr-10 Bailii Link
Case law from lawindexpro.co.uk

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